A federal judge on Tuesday blocked the import of a
drug used in executions, saying that the Food and Drug
Administration ignored the law in allowing it into this country.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon sided with lawyers for death row inmates in Tennessee, Arizona and California who want to keep out sodium thiopental, because it is an unapproved drug manufactured overseas. The Obama administration argued it had discretion to allow unapproved drugs into the United States. But Leon said the FDA's actions were "contrary to law, arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion."
The drug's U.S. manufacturer announced last year that it would no longer produce it, which forced corrections officials to delay many executions.
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